Norfolk, Va. – As much of California, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma face excessive heat warnings and watches, PETA is declaring a state of emergency for all animals exposed to potentially fatal heat stress in the regions.
The move follows a recent petition calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue regulations aimed at protecting outdoor workers against heat stress.
Animals who urgently need protections include dogs who are left penned or chained outdoors, those who are trapped in parked cars, horses who are forced to pull carriages, and other animals who are unable to escape the heat. Already this year, there have been at least 37 hot weather–related animal deaths-and these are just the ones that have been reported. Most aren’t.
“Whether they’re locked in a hot car, relegated to the end of a chain, or forced to pull carriages down the street, animals will die in this blistering heat,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA is calling for a state of emergency declaration that requires immediate intervention whenever an animal is at risk of deadly heat stress.”
PETA-whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”-offers the following tips for keeping animals safe in hot weather:
- Keep animals indoors. Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their footpads and cool themselves by panting, so even brief sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences.
- Never leave an animal inside a hot vehicle. Temperatures can quickly soar in parked cars, and a dog trapped inside can die from heatstroke within minutes-even if the car is in the shade with the windows slightly open. PETA offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for help intervening in life-or-death situations.
- Avoid hot pavement. When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can climb to 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, and permanent damage to dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk dogs on grass whenever possible, and avoid walking in the middle of the day.